Monday, November 05, 2007

Ranjith: Some Bishops and Cardinals in Rebellion

RORATE CÆLI has a translation from the Italian language papal news website, Petrus of an interview by Bruno Volpe with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

As seems usual, Ranjith is quite blunt and direct in his criticisms.

Ranjith speaks: Episcopal "rebellion" going on;
"Bishops and Cardinals" must obey the Pope

Your Excellency, how has Benedict XVI´s motu proprio which liberalized the Holy Mass according to the Tridentine Rite been received? Some, in the bosom of the Church itself, have turned their noses...

"There have been positive reactions and, it is useless to deny it, criticisms and opposition , even from theologians, liturgists, priests, Bishops, and even Cardinals. I frankly do not understand these rifts, and, why not [say it], rebellion towards the Pope. I invite all, particularly the Shepherds, to obey the Pope, who is the Successor of Peter. The Bishops, in particular, have sworn fidelity to the Pontiff: may they be coherent and faithful to their commitment."

In your opinion, what causes these displays against the Motu Proprio?

"You know that there have been, by some dioceses, even interpretative documents which inexplainably intend to limit the Pope's Motu Proprio. These actions mask behind them, on one hand, prejudices of an ideological kind and, on the other, pride, one of the gravest sins. I repeat: I call all to obey the Pope. If the Holy father decided to promulgate the Motu Proprio, he had his reasons, which I fully share."

Benedict XVI´s decision to liberalize the Tridentine Rite seems as a just remedy to the so many liturgical abuses sadly registered after the Second Vatican Council with the 'Novus Ordo'...

"See, I do not wish to criticize the 'Novus Ordo'. But I laugh when I hear it said, even by friends, that in a [certain] parish, a priest is 'a Saint' due to his homily or to how he speaks. The Holy Mass is sacrifice, gift, mystery, independently of the celebrating priest. It is important, fundamental even, that the priest be put aside: the protagonist of the Mass is Christ. I do not understand, thus, the Eucharistic celebrations transformed in shows with dances, songs, and applause, as it frequently happens with the Novus Ordo."

Monsignor Patabendige, your Congregation has repeatedly denounced these liturgical abuses...

"True. There are so many documents, which have nonetheless painfully remained dead letter, [which] have ended up on dusty shelves or, even worse, in wastebaskets."

Another point: one often hears very long homilies...

"This also is an abuse. I am opposed to dances and applause in the middle of the Masses, which are not a circus or a stadium. As for the homilies, they must relate, as the Pope has underlined, exclusively to the catechetical aspect, avoiding sociologisms and useless chatter. For example, priests often veer towards politics because they have not prepared well the homily, which must, instead, be scrupulously studied. An excessively long homily is synonymous with a scarce preparation: the correct time for a sermon must be of 10 minutes, 15 at most. It must be acknowledged that the culminating moment of the celebration is the Eucharistic mystery, which does not mean downplaying the Liturgy of the Word, but clarifying how a correct liturgy must be applied."

Returning to the Motu Proprio: some criticize the use of Latin during Mass...

"The Tridentine Rite is part of the tradition of the Church. The Pope has duly explained the motives for his measure, an act of liberty and justice towards Traditionalists. As for Latin, I wish to underline that it has never been abolished and, what is more, it guarantees the universality of the Church. But I repeat: I invite priests, Bishops, and Cardinals to obedience, setting aside every kind of pride and prejudice."

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: