Reading some of the letters in the Catholic Press one would think that we had been asked to renounce some article of faith instead of a rite. We still have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the bread and wine still becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus our Saviour.
It seems that with some people the rite is more important than the Mass itself. The old slogan "it's the Mass that counts" is as true today as in the past. What of all the Holy Masses offered centuries before the Tridentine Rite was ever thought of?
Is it logical to obey a Pope who has now been dead for four centuries rather than the present occupant of the Chair of Peter? As for the suggestion that the martyrs died for the Tridentine Mass is surely as good as saying
they died merely for the rite. I believe it was the Mass for which
they died, and would have done so whatever rite had been in use at the time.
Donald Searle 12 West Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
All of us who remember the Latin Mass have a nostalgic feeling for it, as we have a dislike of these so-called "Pop" Masses. But we keep quiet for the sake of, not only Catholic unity, but also for that hardly-won climate of charity now existing between the different bodies of Christians, as a result of our efforts in the ecumenical field.
Any sympathy for Archbishop Lefehrve must surely have been eroded by the intemperate language he used at Lille.
He has made himself comparable with the many fanatical "reformers" who have appeared, from time to time, in the long history of the Church, and whose message, has always, ultimately, spread dissension among Christians and produced something very alien to the peace of Christ. The less he is noticed, the more quickly will he disappear from the stage of publicity.
B. M. Fuller Shaftesbury Road,
It's fascinating to watch the Lefebvrites' efforts to get round Catch 22 (to uphold their version of the one true Catholic Church they have to refute Pope and Council, that is, adopt a Protestant position). Fr Peter Morgan, interviewed in your issue of August 27, has a with-one-bound-our-hero-wasfree way with the Gordian knot that is breathtaking. He simply denies the right of Vatican 11 to proclaim dogma.
By what authority does he do this? Ah, there's the rub. Fr Morgan thunders about truth. But where is truth to be found? Self-evidently not in Paul VI.
John XXIII? Don't mention that name. Pius XII? Better, keep going back. . . . Pius DV Stop! We're in the true segment of papal truth, as authenticated by . . well, Fr Morgan and his friends.
I await a fully-worked-up version of this ouija-board theology by one or other of the Protestant popes.
Tony Hughes 4 Gladstone Terrace, Edinburgh 9,
It is well known that top people throughout history haye often been deceived by their administrative entourage. The Holy Father is an isolated figure, responsible for yet removed from us all. One is driven to ask whether action has been taken against Archbishop Lefebvre by Pope Paul himself or merely by those acting in his name.
I suppose it is understandable that efficient administrators nowadays are usually appointed to he bishops; but what do administrators, per se, know of cultural or artistic matters? Unless they are also gifted with holiness and spiritual insight, how can they know what actuates human beings?
I often wonder whether Pope Paul is aware that many of us are sick at heart with an acute sense of having been disinherited by recent liturgical changes.
1 am not an old man. but I for one cannot come to terms with the boring banality that has taken the place of our traditional worship, itself the achievement not Of a committee. but of centuries of poetical and musical genius. Is it not significant that C. G. Jung, himself no Catholic but profound in his knowledge of human beings. when discussing the Sacrifice of the Mass, preferred to leave the words of Consecration untranslated "into any profane tongue"? (Collected Works, Vol II. p 214).
1 know that parish performance usually fell far short of perfection. but we knew what we were aiming at, and more accomplished performances were always available in our cathedrals.
We always referred trustingly to "Mother Church"; but now our inheritance, over a thousand years of culture. has been rudely cast aside by uncomprehending vandals. What a sign of the times, to stand Lefebvre beside Tallyrand! (Catholic Herald, July 30).
Is it any wonder that some snatch at the Tridentine straws up and down the land? Do the clerical bureaucrats really wish to precipitate yet another schism? Surely if the Uniate Churches may keep their ancient rites, it is only sensible to permit the Tridentine Rite. What was all the talk of rich diversity in the Church, if Trend is to banish Trent? And Sociology to replace Theology?
F. J. Mould Lower Healey Farm,
You state in your issue of August 6 that "fifteen French seminarians have abandoned the illegal traditionalist seminary at Econe, Switzerland, and have gone to Rome to complete their studies".
As the Superior of Archbishop Lefebvre's work in England, and hence in very regular contact by telephone with him, I wish to make it very clear to readers that to our knowledge no seminarian has left Econe for Rome. or anywhere else.
It is interesting that you should mention the number fifteen, as last year about fifteen seminarians did leave, and I am sure that you must be quoting an old report.
In September, between 25 and 30 new students will be entering Econe, including young men from England and the United States.
Very Rev Peter J. Morgan Superior, Society of St Pius X. St. Michael's House,
Andover Road, H ighclere, Newbury, Berkshire.
I am somewhat relieved to note that in his letter appearing on September 3, Mgr Michael Buckley seems at least aware of the distress that many Catholics feel over the Tridentine issue. Furthermore. I am sure that several would agree with him when he states that it may well be only one of many ailments with which the Church is afflicted.
Apart from the abrogation of this rite, the "low profile' attitude of the Church towards the doctrine of Purgatory is a further case in point. While I realise that this dogma may be an embarrassment to the cause of ecumenism, it is surely unwise to adopt an ostrich-like attitude
towards it. By ignoring it, it will not cease to exist, despite its denunciation by the Thirty-Nine Articles. Surely, to attempt to achieve Unity by the compromise of the true Faith and dilution of its doctrines, is to take a negative approach.
I.et us not forget that true ecumenism will be achieved only when our "separated brethren" submit to the one true Church of Christ, as it is, and not as those who seek ecumenism at any price would wish it to be.
J. E. Sales 214 Fowler Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
Did Christ use the Tridentine Rite in preference to speaking to his Disciples in the vernacular? Did he intend the Mass for an elite or for the whole world — East as well as West?
Do we go to Mass to worship God or to please ourselves? What is true religion? Was Christ's prayer not merely a ritual act but a living sacrifice of his whole person, of which he said: "Do this in memory of me"? What are prayer, detachment, humility and obedience?
Mary C. Hypher 6 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire.
A letter of mine about Archbishop Lefebvre and his disobedience was recently published in the correspondence columns of a daily newspaper.
As a result of this, I received an assortment of printed matter
from various traditionalist sources, attacking Pope Paul, the Second Vatican Council and the Mina Normaliva.
I would be grateful for the hospitality of your columns to register a strong protest regarding the tone and content of these publications, which left me completely unconvinced.
It is important to bear in mind that what takes place in the Mass of today is exactly the same as what took place in the Mass of the first, the sixth or the sixteenth century.
The Council of Trent sums up the doctrine of the Mass in the following words: "In order to effect our eternal salvation, Christ willed to sacrifice Himself once to the Father upon the altar of the Cross.
"But His priesthood was not to cease at His death. Therefore at the Last Supper He offered His Body and Blood to the Father in the form of bread and wine, thus bequeathing to His Church a Sacrifice through which the Sacrifice of the Cross, once memory preserved until the end of the world, and His healing power applied to us for the remission of the sins which we daily commit."
Those words express the unchanging belief of the Catholic Church in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Allow me to conclude with the words of Pope Paul spoken in a public audience in 1969; "Keep this clearly in mind; nothing has been changed of the substance of our traditional Mass. The Mass of the new rite is and remains the same Mass that we have always had."
B. C. Wilson 27 Cardiff Road,
Bargoed, M id-G lamorgan.