Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two public reactions to the Good Friday Prayer Revision: IBP and SSPX

Father Philippe Laguerie, the Superior of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, was bound to be asked about the Good Friday prayer revisions of Pope Benedict XVI. He published a note on this today on his blog. More on that in a moment.

Coincidentally, the SSPX has finally today also made a public statement in this communique in DICI, an official SSPX source of communication from their general house. No name is attached to it. (Tip to Rorate Caeli who noticed this communique first).

After detailing events leading up to matter, they make the following comment [an unofficial NLM translation follows]:

As a result of foreign pressures upon the Catholic Church, the Pope believed he was obliged to change the most venerable prayer for the Jews [which] is an integral part of the liturgy of Good Friday. This prayer is one of the oldest, dating back to around the third century, so it has been recited, throughout the history of the Church, as the full expression of the Catholic faith.

It should be noted that the comments by Cardinal Kasper [about not suggesting a "mission" as regards the Jewish people]... [express] a new theology of relations with the Jewish people. It is part of the liturgical upheaval that is the hallmark feature of the Council and the reforms that resulted.

While accepting that the need for the Messiah to be saved was kept [in the new prayer], we can only deeply regret this change.

NLM Comments: First, let me note that it would be good to read a direct statement by the present Superior General of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, as regards the intentions of the Society of St. Pius X and the new Good Friday prayer.

Second, some brief critical analysis.

I would note that the DICI communique makes no explicit statement that the new prayer will not be followed by the SSPX, only that they "regret" the change. That said, it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable to believe that implicitly, this is what that will mean; rejection. At this point, however, we cannot know for certain for they neither explicitly say they will follow the new prayer, nor that they won't.

There was an opportunity here for the SSPX to demonstrate their desire for full communion, as well as to express clear filial loyalty and obedience to the Holy Father by accepting the prayer -- which could be done while even while expressing their concerns it is to be noted; in point of fact, noting their concern but accepting the change regardless could have been quite powerful as a statement of desire for full, regular communion.

Still, while at this moment it is a missed opportunity it is not yet a lost opportunity precisely because they have not explicitly acted or said otherwise as of yet. In that regard, it must be noted that this yet remains a possibility for the SSPX. I hope and pray that they will take hold of that opportunity.

By contrast, here is the reaction of Abbe Philippe Laguerie, superior of the Institute of the Good Shepherd in a nutshell:

I will thus take this splendid prayer because it is an order, but also because the Pope, who knows Saint Paul so well, deserves, calls, our filial devotion.

In his writing on this, Fr. Laguerie detailed three versions of the prayer, that of 1962, 1970 and 2008 and also gives an analysis of the misunderstanding that surrounds it.

Watch here for updates on this as the NLM hopes to bring you more translation from Father Laguerie's piece -- which is quite lengthy.

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