Sunday, July 18, 2021

On the Unity of the Church: Some Good Advice from Dom Alcuin Reid

Dom Alcuin Reid has published some advice in regard to the new motu proprio, which we reproduce in part, with his permission. The full text can be read at the website of the Monastère St Benoît, of which he is prior.

Our Holy Father has, seemingly, decided that the usus antiquior of the Roman rite no longer rightly has any place in the unity in diversity that is the life of worship of the Catholic Church. The reasons he gives are ... very grave indeed. Where these aberrations exist, they must rightly be corrected.

However, it must be said plainly that the usus antiquior of the Roman rite as it is celebrated and lived in many if not most communities throughout the world is by no means coterminous with the errors which our Holy Father seeks to correct. On the contrary, as it has been my privilege to experience many times and in many countries, and as I wrote in our summer newsletter, full, conscious, actual and fruitful participation in these rites flourishes in these communities, particularly amongst the young. I encourage those who doubt this to visit them and to immerse themselves in their life with open hearts and minds. The reality they will discover is one of faith, beauty and joy – something of which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council (and indeed, which its peritus-become-pope) would be proud. I invite those who wish, to do so here, as our guests.

In this context, the command to discard the riches of the usus antiquior – about which Pope Benedict wrote so eloquently in 2007 (Letter, 7 July) – is disconsonant. In stating that “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful,” Pope Benedict articulated a truth that is no less true for the passing of a mere fourteen years.
A son who is disobedient or worse will, howsoever grudgingly, accept rebuke and just punishment. But when a father coldly commands his son, under obedience, immediately to commit suicide, he must and shall rightly be disobeyed. Should an enraged father lunge at his son with a knife in order to sever his arteries, he must be resisted with means that are proportionate to the danger posed. ...

The fact remains that these are difficult times and that we may see some turbulence in the life and unity of the Church as a result of this new legislation. Because of this I have decided that the monastery, henceforth, each Friday where it is liturgically possible, shall offer a votive Mass pro Ecclesiæ unitate. The first shall be on Friday of this week. I invite you to be present, or if that is not possible, I encourage you to pray some of the prayers of this ancient and beautiful Mass. I encourage others to take up this initiative: our first recourse must be to that liturgical worship and adoration of the Blessed Trinity which is the fundament of all prayer. So too I invite you with us to offer your Friday fasting and penance for this intention.

So too, we must continue our work build up this House of God as an oasis of liturgical integrity and peace amidst the thorns of the world for those who wish to serve the Lord here as monks, and for those who wish, in different ways, to participate in our life regularly or from time to time. As heretofore, we rely on the kindness and generosity of our extended monastic family and friends for the material support necessary to achieve this – a support that is perhaps now all the more urgent. ...

We shall continue to pray and work for the unity of the Church in our times and, please God, shall be an instrument of reconciliation for those whose communion with her is somehow impaired. We shall witness to the ongoing pastoral and evangelical value of the liturgical “riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer,” and of the reality that it is possible, right and good – indeed necessary – “to give them their proper place” in the unity of the Church today. (cf. Benedict XVI, Letter, 7 July 2007)

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