Monday, October 27, 2014

Dom Mark Kirby on Paul VI -- and a Note on the Term “Pastoral”

I noticed recently a couple of fine NLM-pertinent posts by Dom Mark Kirby, Prior of Silverstream, whose blog Vultus Christi is an ongoing source of refreshing spiritual wisdom.
In the attention given to Pope Paul VI in the time leading up to his beatification, one notices a deafening silence on those many respects in which this pope either was, or at least seems to have intended to be, a proponent of the “hermeneutic of continuity” avant la lettre. While it’s true that Paul VI is a complex and even at times contradictory figure who contributed to the problems inherited by his successors and all of us (see my earlier article on this very subject), it is only a matter of plain common honesty and justice to paint a fair portrait that includes elements essential to modern-day traditionalism. These would have to include not only Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and Mysterium Fidei, but also his unambiguous reaffirmation of the Catholic faith in the Credo of the People of God and his 1966 Apostolic Letter Sacrificium Laudis, whose defense of the traditional choral office in Latin deserves to be much more widely known.

Dom Mark offers the complete text of this short Apostolic Letter, along with an introduction. Highly recommended.

Dom Mark also devoted a daily reflection (again, with the complete text of the document) to how important the Credo of the People of God was to him in his personal life as a monk living in a confused and volatile period. Published less than a month before Humanae Vitae, the Credo was perhaps the most quickly buried and forgotten document in the history of the Magisterium. It is nevertheless worth revisiting, and is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows when one sees how the creed Paul VI professed, unambiguously reiterating dogma on faith and morals, has been slowly and consistently undermined in subsequent decades.

While we’re speaking about Paul VI, I would like to recommend to NLM readers a newly posted article by my colleague, Dr. Jeremy Holmes, “Saving ‘Pastoral’ from the Wolves”. We are all rightly disturbed, I think, by the serious abuse that has been made of the term ‘pastoral’, and how many acts of negligence and deviations it has covered since the Second Vatican Council. We might, in fact, be tempted to throw the word away. But we do not do well to let the enemies of the Faith seize hold of vocabulary and claim it as their booty. As the Sensible Bond likes to point out (in league with George Orwell and Josef Pieper), language is power, and abuse of language is abuse of power. Dr. Holmes examines the authentic notion of the pastoral, that which has to do with the shepherd truly taking care of his flock by taking them seriously and yet leading them where they need to go. There are some interesting liturgical and moral examples. Check it out.

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