Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cardinal Medina on the classical Roman liturgy

[The Cornell Society for a Good Time pointed out this post on their blog. I started to read it, and realized that some of the comments by the good Cardinal are too important to not diffuse widely -- to that end I am posting the quotes included which are the Cardinal's comments.]

Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship on the classical Roman rite of Mass:

"There are some who advocate a greater liberty in the Church, but who, to my great astonishment, do not want to allow a greater survival of the old form of the Roman Rite. It's curious that they tolerate, willingly or unwillingly abuses in the celebration of the recent form of the Roman Rite. For my part I energetically wish that the Holy Father would make a declaration in favor of allowing a greater freedom in the use of the old Roman Rite."

"I began to use the old rite from time to time after having been invited to Le Barroux. Before that first visit I no longer celebrated it. After this visit - I was at the time the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship - there were quite a bit of negative reactions. Some even lacked the grave respect due to my person and to a rite which the Church accepts. And it was from that moment that I began again to offer willingly this little service [of offering the old rite of the Mass]."

Cardinal Medina Estevez explains how he favors the old rite because of the emphasis on the sacrificial aspect of the Mass which the prayers of the old rite bring out:

"Because the three aspects of the Eucharist: the sacrifice, the Real Presence and the Communion are interlinked, and the primary one of them is the sacrificial aspect. Communion flows from the sacrificial aspect; and it is the Real Presence that gives the deeper meaning to the sacrificial offering. I have always been very aware of this aspect since my youth. I recall that the first theological article that I wrote after my priestly ordination was on the Mass as a sacrifice more than 50 years ago. That's why I enormously appreciated the last encyclical of John Paul II on the Mass as a sacrifice Ecclesia de Eucharistia, where the word 'sacrifice' appears at least 42 times."

What's to blame for the crisis of the Church, in its human elements, in Europe?

"There are several [reasons], and one could not establish them in a mathematical way. It is very difficult. But there is a whole host of factors, among which the weakness of faith, first of all, and the contempt of chastity, they constitute the most important sources of the situation. Saint Paul says it: 'the just live by faith'; and it is impossible, without the faith, to be pleasing to God. And martyrs: we are soon going to beatify a group of Mexican martyrs. We have the letter of a boy, shot at 14 years. The day before, he was allowed to write a letter to his mother, in which he says: 'Mama, it has never been easier to go to heaven today: I will be shot tomorrow. I kiss you. Your son.' If one were to see that it is a true joy to be shot in order to go to heaven, one is in another atmosphere."

About the status of the old rite:

"Personally I hold that one cannot prove that the old rite was abrogated. There are good reasons to affirm that it is still in force. Others hold the contrary. But, since there is doubt, one should admit freedom.... I think that Ecclesia Dei Indult ought to be seen as a test to establish certain criteria for good ecclesiastical order. I think besides that if the Holy Father wanted to authorize the general use of the old rite, the priests who would like to celebrate it would be very few: perhaps a few hundred at the most. The majority of priests would continue to celebrate the rite of Pope Paul VI. It remains to be hoped, for my part, that certain elements eliminated from the old rite should become alternatives in the new rite; for example, the offertory prayers, and the prayer at the end of the mass, like the offering of the sacrifice to the Holy Trinity - extremely beautiful and pedagogical prayers in my opinion."

" my opinion, any Catholic must be a conservative, because it is necessary to preserve the deposit of the faith. It is what Saint Paul says: 'Depositum custodi.' If somebody does not want to keep the deposit of the faith, he is no longer a Catholic."

"But I allow myself to tell you that the Pope named me his special envoy (one reserves the term 'legate' for the cardinal Secretary of State) for the blessing of the abbey of the Benedictines at Le Barroux. I came in the name of the Pope, and not only because I am favorable to the situation of Le Barroux. The Pope showed his benevolence. I was invested as the representative of the Sovereign Pontiff. But my nomination was not published in the Osservatore Romano..."

You can read the whole of the interview here.
You can read the original piece from the Cornell Society here.

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