Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cormac attempts to frustrate efforts to restore the liturgy

Melancholicus has learned, via Damian Thompson and Fr John Zuhlsdorf, that his eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has recently issued a set of guidelines for the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in his diocese.

Fr Zuhlsdorf wondered if his eminence’s instructions were inspired by an Ad clerum by bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, in which the good bishop attempts to place the provisions made by Summorum Pontificum under his own personal control.

In any case, the response by both +Cormac and +Arthur to the Holy Father’s motu proprio has been mealy-mouthed and begrudging. While both appear to respect the letter of the motu proprio, they are clearly at odds with its spirit.

Possibly because the spirit of Summorum Pontificum is in opposition to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council? Melancholicus would like to think that therewith he has hit the nail on the head.

In any case, the restoration of the sacred liturgy will not be achieved overnight. Under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, it will be the continuation of a process that traditionalists have already found long and difficult; the motu proprio makes this process somewhat easier, but much patience and prayer are still necessary on the part of those who wish to see availability of the Old Mass extended beyond its current meagre level. And we must not be surprised at the obfuscation and stonewalling of prelates like +Cormac, even though it may be exasperating; they will do whatever they can get away with to resist what they see as ‘turning back the clock’ on Vatican II, and we must accept this as a fact of life. The progressivist junta may be starting to lose its grip in some places, but it is still plenty capable of making life as uncomfortable as possible for the restorationists in the meantime.

The ‘reform’ of the Church in the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II has been the life’s work of countless clergy and religious of +Cormac’s generation. Before the accession of Pope Benedict XVI, Melancholicus tended to view that group with a mixture of bitterness, resentment and anger at what they had done—and continue to do—to the Church. That anger is now being turned, by degrees, into pity. Melancholicus cannot find it in his heart to hate these destroyers of tradition, and hence of Catholicism; he can only pity them. These people, who were the youth and the future of the Church in the sixties and seventies, are now increasingly looking like the past. They are old (or at the very least middle-aged) and they are set in their ways. For them, to deny the progressivist vision at this stage of their lives, and to embrace the tradition, would be tantamount to turning their backs on their entire life’s work, and thereby admitting that they had been mistaken, and that it was all a waste. It doesn’t matter how much reason and logic we present before them; it doesn’t matter how gently and how dispassionately we argue the cause of tradition, for, human nature being what it is, nobody likes to acknowledge that the work of their entire lives has all been for nothing. Deep down, however, there may be an unconscious realisation among the progressivists that they are losing the struggle, and that their road is ultimately a dead end. On that account there is now a sort of terror in the progressivist camp, a terror which will make those who experience it shrill and nasty, and prompt them to do their worst with their remaining years and resources rather than accept the inevitable. Time itself is against them; nobody is following in their footsteps; they have no heirs. Just as their refusal to submit to Humanae Vitae has left the laity committed to their charge without offspring, so too their dissent has left them without progeny in the spiritual order. They have inspired no vocations to take their places left vacant by death or retirement; when they die, their ideology will die with them, and deep in their hearts they know it. In the meantime, do not expect them to go gently into that good night.

It is not progress to keep resolutely forging ahead when one has struck out along the wrong path; that is regress, not progress. In this case the true progressivist would be the man who turns back, seeking the right path.

In this battle of ideals within the Church, the Traditionalists are the true progressives.

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