Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pope Benedict Adds More Fuel To My Conspiracy Theory

I can't wait for Pope Benedict to drag this tradition out and dust it off  Just in case you can't tell, the bored pope in the chair is Paul VI.

The following is an excerpt from America and reports on an interview given by Cardinal Koch who is head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.  In the interview Koch states beyond question that Benedict's intent is to reform the Novus Ordo into something more a long the lines of the TLM.  

Pope's 'reform of the reform' in liturgy to continue, cardinal says
Catholic News Service
By John Thavis

....Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought "many positive fruits" but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council's stated intentions.

He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with "Summorum Pontificum." The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II's teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass. (This is about using the Mass to stress a theological leaning, which in my opinion is all about strengthening the cultic priesthood.)

Cardinal Koch said "Summorum Pontificum" is "only the beginning of this new liturgical movement."

"In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite," he said. (We had a common form until Pope Benedict.)

"However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other," he said.

Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said.  (Maybe we just lack Benedicts' understanding and we all know we don't count.)

On the final day of the conference, participants attended a Mass celebrated according to the Tridentine rite at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller presided over the liturgy. It was the first time in several decades that the old rite was celebrated at the altar. --CNS


Here we have it, the very thing Vat II Catholics feared.  I can remember more than one comment implying Vat II liberals were paranoid and that Benedict had no intention of seriously changing the NO,  and I can remember countless comments stating that those of us who saw this kind of reform as a step backwards lacked a proper understanding of the liturgical changes proposed by Vatican II.  This goes to show that if something is said long enough and often enough it becomes fact.  Notice I didn't write 'truth'. 

I wonder if that when all the reforming is done we wind up with a Mass that is very close to the one which we used shortly after Vatican II that, if memory serves me correctly, was a hodge podge of Latin and English where the priest maintained his back to the people, communion was on the knees and on the tongue and there was no 'sign of peace' to disturb one's personal navel gazing.  I think my small rural parish had this version of the Mass much longer than we should have because our Polish parish priest was not enamored with Vatican II changes and we laity didn't know any better.  I didn't think all that much of the changes this Mass represented, but then I never experienced how the 'new' Mass was actually supposed to be done until I went off to college.  Then I was blown away.

As far as strengthening the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass I've written a lot about how atonement Jesus is not the path that even begins to understand what Jesus came to teach because it places the emphasis on one act in His life and that's of course, the crucifixion.  That Jesus spent three years teaching, healing, and generally utterly changing people's lives and world view is lost in that translation. For that matter so is the Resurrection, which is the actual the reason for His life and the final culmination of His teachings. He was first and foremost about bringing the power of Spirit into matter.  That's what His teachings were all about.  He even left us the Holy Spirit to help in that process. He taught that the mind set humanity needed,   which connected one to that Spirit,  was compassion and love for others.  It was not a mindset about magic words stated by ordained males to confect--by the way I hate that word-- the Eucharist at an elaborate ritual.  To re emphasise this kind of spiritual thinking pretty much means the only time Spirit will be brought into matter is precisely at Benedict's reformed Masses by Benedict's priests. 

That is not how it worked in the early church.  Pentecost is not about magic words said by magically ordained men.  Pentecost is about bringing Spirit into matter to heal, convert, and reform ourselves and others and it was given to men and women equally to pass onto other men and women.  Jesus did not send the Holy Spirit to infuse His church so we could all go to Mass on Sunday and be good little passive powerless Catholics.  He sent the Spirit to fuel a new way of being a transcendent human-- in love with His father, our fellow man,  the world in which He graced us to live, and able to bridge the worlds of spirit and matter.  We were to bring Spirit into matter through our very lives.  Pentecost was such an in breaking of Spirit into matter that two thousand years later Benedict now has a global church to drive into the ground pursuing not Jesus's compassion and love based spiritual strategy, but man's power and control driven political strategy.  

One last thought.  It was really Pentecost that marks the start of the Church, and Pentecost effected both men and women.  They were all infused with the same Spirit.  One could say they were all ordained in quite a profound way. They all spread the Good News and all broke bread together.  Maybe it's time we face the fact that continuity was breached long long before Vatican II ever came on the seen.



  1. In my most cynical moments I think, "Oh well...he doesn't have very long any way, let's see him try that before he's dead."

    This is one of those moments.


  2. The early Church was known as The Way. It was a period when early Christians came together in each others homes for prayer and Eucharist. It is time again for smaller prayer communities to come together and select a person to lead in prayer. This selection could change at any and every celebration. In some theologies the most important even Apostolic (if that is really important) priesthood is the priesthood of Baptism.

    I think with all the scandals of money, sex, and other areas of discontent, either a Bishop(s) will get disgusted with the continued hypocrisy and lead millions of people away from Rome, or there will be judicial decisions in the World Court and elsewhere to further illuminate people about the decadent conduct in the Vatican. I do not see Pope Benedict or the post Benedict popes coming up with a win, win solution preserving there grand leadership or an intact Catholic Church. The Schism between the clerics and The People of God is already too deep to reconcile.

    Like judaism, we are more and more becoming of different sects. There will be a few hardcore member of the RCC who worship in temples with elaborate medieval dress and using a dead language like the deadened mindset of their leaders. Then there will be other varieties of Catholics and other Christians. I think some will be members more carefully following Christ’s Way and less fearful of new revelations from the breathing Spirit of each present. The latter will be the ethical leadership of society.

    And yes, besides the Confusion inside Latin Catholicism, there will remain other fundamental confused Christians who come together more for Xenophobic reasons to share resources with others of only their ilk. The friendliness between these fundamentalist other Christians with Latin Catholicism will dissolve into combative competitiveness. Such is probably the end result of such a poor leadership after Pope John Paul 1. As far as conspiracy theory inside the Catholic Church, does it seem probable that he met a criminal fate? dennis

  3. I am reminded of T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men"


    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats' feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;


    ... This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man's hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death's other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.


  4. I wonder if he's one of the Koch Brothers?

  5. Well said Colleen !!
    As someone said,they are trying to wrap us up in a cocoon when we should be in flight with the butterfly.
    So repressive !!

  6. Have you seen this?

  7. JD, that onion photo is funny.

  8. Why is it that Pope Benny and his minions talk of returning to ecclesial tradition and stop short at the Council of Trent? Wasn't there a mellenium and a half of Christianity before that?