POPE'S INSTRUCTION ON politics USE OF REVISED RITE are put first
From Bishop Lindsay, Auxiliary of Hexham and Newcastle.
Monica King (March 22) says that we are not bound to use the revised rite of the Mass, and that the former (Tridentine) rite may .still be used. She adds that we have been misled by a mistranslation of an important sentence in a document of Pope Paul VI.
I had to write to someone else on these two points recently, so I have the facts at hand: I The Holy Father has stated quite clearly in an official document, the Apostolic
Constitution Missale Romanum, that we are bound to use the revised rite of the Mass, and that the former rite may not be used as a rule.
The semi-official English version of Missale Romanum appeared in the English edition of l'Osservatore Romano on May 8, 1969. The last main paragraph states:
"We wish that these our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation."
2 He spoke about the revised rite of the Mass at his General Audience of November 19, 1969. Here are some of the things he said:
"But 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 we have always had." "It is not an arbitrary act. It is not a transitory or optional experiment. It is not some dilettante's improvisation. It is law," 3 The legal force of the Holy Father's decision depends on the sentence I have already quoted in paragraph l'above. It does not depend on the English version of the sentence which Monica King describes as "a mistranslation."
She would object to the translation which reads: "In conclusion, we wish to give the force of law to all that we have
itst forth . Yet this is the semi-official translation released by the Vatican newspaper at the same time as the Latin text.
Incidentally, she quoted "strict force of law" hut the word "strict" does not appear in any of the English versions I have seen so far. '
Hugh Lindsay St Virteent's Home.
The Roman Way, West Denton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
I am pleased that my letter of March 15 regarding the Sarum Rite evoked a lively response in your following issue from Fr Brocard Sewell, Monica King, and Nicholas Webber.
With respect to Fr Sewell, it must be remembered that the Edwardian injunctions relating to the Book or Common Prayer were superseded by the interim reinstatement of Sarum by Mary
which for Rome and English Catholicism was the final orthodox measure until the advent of better times, the subsequent Elizabethan settlement being considered heretical hence the Recusants. '
It is nice to know that Pope Leo XIII suggested the revival ol the Sarum Rite for Westminster. Perhaps he wondered %shy it had not been suggested before! May one dare to hope that Fr Sewell might be the first president of the still, nebulous flying SORSA R (Society for the' Restoration of the Sarum Rite) -should he not already have enough on his plate!
Regarding Monica King's letter. I have never thought that Pope Paul's Constitution Missale Romanum was man datory. I mentioned "abrogation" from the de facto angle rather than de jure. The modulating factor in the question of "rites" is that of usage rather than 'legislation. Before the fifth century. I suppose, there would be no "rites" as we know them, just the Liturgy in the West, emanating from Rome, ritual deviations according to territorial usage. The widespread Reformation upset forced Pius V to legislate, in the vi.ords of Gregory Dix, by an unprecedented act of the central authority in launching the Tridentine Rite, but even here he bowed to local custom by inserting the "two centuries" clause.
In commenting on Mr Webber's letter, it would be too much to hope at this stage, and in view of Monica King's remarks, for any official blessing on the Sarum Mass, If we were "conned" on the 4uppression of the Tridentine Mass. we cannot he too elated about Sarum. But I cannot agree with the contention that Sarum was not a national rite.
The Sarum Use gradually came to he taken up (Si Paul's, 1414). and as late as 1542 the Convocation of Canterbury adopted the Sarum Use for the Hours services throughout the Southern province. it was constantly called "the Use of -the English Church."
The fact that Queen Mary restored the Sarum Rite under the aegis of Cardinal Pole, Primate of all England, would have set the seal on its national Character.
Whatever the difficulties of the time its claim under the terms of Quo Prinoum was apparently not pursued. and it was replaced by Deo Gratias, the Tridentine Missal. My query was tentative as to whether such a claim still has any validity. Fr Sewell seems to think so.
James GoldsburY 75 Bingham Road,
.Radeliffe-on-Trent, Nottingham. After reading a recent contribution to the journal Faith entitled. "The Seminaries; How Future Priests are Poisoned," it was encouraging to turn to the Catholic Herald and to find Gerard Noel's article full of appreciation or the efforts to renew priestly training in this country. • I would second the writer's personal tribute to Mgr Loftus and the other members of the Ushaw staff mentioned by him. though I suspect That they must have felt rather embarrassed at being singled out for such praise. The final section of the article was less satisfactory, and even misleading in places, although this could well be understandable in view of the complexity of the whole issue. However, there is one paragraph in this nmd section which ought not to be allowed to pass without serious exception being taken to it.
The writer instances the reconsidered decision of Archbishop Beck as "an example of what can happen anywhere when 'Church politics' get put before the good of the faithful at large."
It would be fair comment for Mr Noel to state that there is.a divergence of view as to what is demanded for the good of the faithful at large or even for him to state that there is disagreement over the criteria for making such a judgment; it would also be fair comment for him to judge that there is a clash of interests on the part of different local Churches or on the part of a local Church and the wider Church.
He might even have taken sides in such a divergence of views or clash of •interests, though it would seem foolhardy for him to do so without a thorough examination of the whole complex question which would be impossible without hearing evidence from all parties concerned.
Any of these positions would come under the heading of responsible reporting and the reader would be free to agree or disagree according to the adequacy of the writer's presentation.
(Fr) Kevin T. Kelly Upholland College,