Friday, April 20, 2007

John Allen on the Motu Proprio and a short comment on the question of tolerance

By way of John Allen of NCR: Hold your breath for the next media frenzy: The Latin Mass document is coming

"The last sentence of [Cardinal Walter] Kasper's letter [to the International Council of Christians and Jews], the text of which I have, is the key line: "While I do not know what the pope intends to state in his final text [of the Motu Proprio], it is clear that the decision that has been made cannot now be changed."

"Kasper's language clearly indicates that something definitive has happened. It adds to the confirmation given by the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on March 31 that a motu proprio from Benedict XVI, meaning a document under the pope's personal authority, on the pre-Vatican II Mass is coming.

"Catholic publishers in Rome, anticipating the pope's decision, have already begun preparing new editions of the pre-Vatican II Mass books, called the "1962 Missal" because that was the last year prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) in which an official liturgical book according to the old rite was issued."

The above text speaks for itself.

Another part of this article focuses on the concern of some with regard to the classical Missal, and also about a general theological worldview they see as being pre-conciliar (ie. now no longer). Ultimately, the issue is cast in the light of concern for intolerance, though I would propose that as a "sed contra" to this, what needs to be looked at is the issue of syncretism and relativism to thereby better understand wherein lie the differences between tolerance and intolerance truly understood.

Tolerance today is often taken precisely to mean syncretism and relativism. As such, praying for conversion is understood as being intolerant by many. But genuine tolerance permits disagreement; it permits one to believe this or that to be misguided, wrong, or at least not fully in accord with the whole truth; conversely it allows for the belief of something to be true. This is a crucial distinction.

This may be a good time to pull out the fully contextualized teaching of the Church on these questions, as well as Ratzinger's book Truth and Tolerance. One must likewise consider the call of Christ and the Gospel, and distinguish the difference between a change in mission and the Christian call to evangelization, as opposed to shifts in methodology.

Finally, as regards liturgical language, I would highlight that we must take careful consideration of the difference between hate speech or even polemical language from biblical, metaphorical language.

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