Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Abbots of Fontgombault and Barroux speak on the MP

[The following appeared in Le Figaro. Here is an unofficial translation from the French.]

By Dom Antoine Forgeot, Abbot of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault, Dom Louis-Marie, Abbot of Holy-Madeleine of Barroux, Christophe Geffroy, Director of La Nef.

Why Benedict XVI publish a Motu Proprio liberalizing the use of the Tridentine missal? He himself gives the reason in his letter to the bishops: “It is a question of managing an internal reconciliation within the Church.” By doing this, he firstly does not [only] aim at the priests and faithful who followed Msgr. Lefebvre in his rupture with the Roman See in 1988. He more generally aims liturgical peace and also encourages the proper celebration [of the Mass] according to the new missal.

It would be indeed be absurd to [close one's eyes] as if there had been no liturgical problems since the reform of 1970, or as if the faithful attached to the ancient liturgical forms were simply unable to adapt to a more modern liturgy. If such had been the case, there would not be as many young [Catholics] attached to this ancient liturgy, considered [by some] incomprehensible, but which [...] speaks the language accessible to the heart, even to those who do not speak Latin. For Benedict XVI there is neither “rupture” nor “contradiction” between the two missals: “The history of the liturgy is made up of growth and of progress, never of rupture”, he writes in his letter to the bishops.

It is against the spirit of a "blank slate", contrary with to the concept even of so expansive a tradition as the Church's, that the Pope rises. And it is precisely because there is no rupture that Benedict XVI can affirm in all credibility that the permanence of the old missal does not mean in any way any to call into question of the authority of the Council of Vatican II and the liturgical reform of Pope Paul VI. We can to testify that immense majority of priests and faithful who are attached to the old missal in full communion with the Church - particularly in the young people who knew neither Vatican II nor the reform of 1970 -, recognize this authority without a shade of doubt.

In his letter to the bishops, the Holy Father answers another fear expressed by the consulted bishops: “That a broader possibility of using the missal of 1962 can carry disorder, even division in parish communities.” Benedict XVI does not consider this fear founded. The [previous situation] shows that in all the dioceses where Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988 was applied “liberally” as John-Paul II asked of it, and the more the reception was generous and integration into the life of the diocese was easy, there were neither disorder nor divisions. Cases of division appeared where the request of faithful was ignored.

No doubt this new Motu Proprio - an act which one will measure the importance of in a few years - will cause here or there inevitable tensions. [It does not remain about it less basically a call pressing to peace, with the recognition of the other in its legitimate differences.] [The sentence is not clear to me - NLM]

There still the Pope strongly invites us: “The two forms of use of the Roman rite can grow rich reciprocally.” Admittedly, the Motu Proprio marks a welcome recognition for a missal “never repealed”. The awaited efforts of communion, nevertheless, cannot be of a single direction. If the catholics attached to the old liturgical forms are finally recognized like members of the Church with full share, they must themselves drive out any cliquishness and engage [...] in the life of the dioceses.

So that there is a deep peace, one needs that each one makes, without ulterior motives, a step towards the other. Finding liturgical peace, Catholics will be able to better link their efforts as regards the first priority of the Church today: the new evangelization.

To touch the hearts of this immense populations which ignore how much God loves them - and the [previous situation] shows that the traditional liturgy has a missionary dimension near to certain hearts.

In this immense task, the two liturgical forms of the Roman rite each have a role in accordance with the word of Christ: “There are many mansions in the house of my Father” (Jn. 14:2).

Original French Article (Le Figaro)

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