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Damian Thompson warns that the revival of the Old Rite is being slowly strangled by Bishops in the U.K. and elsewhere who disagree with Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, thanks largely to the way it was drafted.  He further warns that the Pope had better do something about it quick, or kiss my hand to those Europeans who want Latin Mass:

No cathedral in England and Wales offers a weekly Sunday Mass in the Old Rite, so far as I can tell, which is a disgrace. And no Latin Mass communities have been set up in England and Wales, in sharp contrast to the situation in the United States. “There’s no demand for them,” say the bishops. But the point is that the admittedly limited demand for the traditional services is NOT being met – and the Pope’s wish that a new generation of Catholics be introduced to the treasures of the old liturgy is just a pipe dream.

But if the bishops of England and Wales (and of many other countries) are playing fast and loose with Summorum Pontificum, that’s because Pope Benedict XVI is allowing them to.

The original document was not tightly drafted: it left plenty of room for confusion about what constituted a “stable group” of the faithful who were entitled to demand access to the older form of Mass. Did the group have to be rooted in one parish, or predate the papal decree? Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has indicated that the answer is “no” and that the Pope wishes people in every parish to have access (of some sort) to the 1962 Missal.

But these were off-the cuff remarks made in response to a question I asked him at a press conference before the big Westminster Mass boycotted by the local bishops: they have not been clarified or amplified by Ecclesia Dei. Why not?

Meanwhile, although the Pope is slowly changing the style of his own liturgical celebrations to bring them more into line with the historic practices of the Church – to de-Bugninify them, if you like – there is still not the slightest indication that His Holiness will celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form publicly. Why? No one knows the answer.

Let us be blunt about this. If the Pope were to die tomorrow, he would be remembered for many fine achievements, most of all his encyclicals, but his liturgical reforms would peter out. Summorum Pontificum would remain on the statute book, but the Magic Circle in England and its powerful allies in the Vatican and Europe would quietly suffocate the work of Ecclesia Dei.

My guess is that the next Pope will be as theologically conservative as Benedict, but is unlikely to possess his blindingly intense vision of a liturgical reform in which the pre- and post-Vatican II liturgies revive each other. That reform is not yet properly under way, and the Pope is in his 80s. No wonder traditionalists are alarmed.

Well, we all know European civilization is in a state of collapse anyway, so I suppose this is no surprise.  Anybody know what the comparable figgahs are here in the States and in other parts of the world?

I must say that although I was initially quite intimidated by the Tridentine form when I started attending Mass last year, I have positively fallen in love with it since and have made it my regular worship. Indeed, I am quite keenly disappointed when, for whatever reason, I can’t make it to this service.  We have it at noon every Sunday in my parish – I have not yet checked to see if it is offered at any other times anywhere in my immediate vicinity, but I probably ought to.

I reckon that in another five to seven years, I might even reach the point where I can get all the way through the Asperges me without making a fool of myself. I’m getting better at the Credo, however.

If you were not personally acquainted with the late Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, you really ought not to refer to him as “Slava”.

Thank you.

Don’t go in the water – apparently it’s quite crowded enough down there:

Hundreds of new marine species and previously uncharted undersea mountains and canyons have been discovered in the depths of the Southern Ocean, Australian scientists said Wednesday. A total of 274 species of fish, ancient corals, molluscs, crustaceans and sponges new to science were found in icy waters up to 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) deep among extinct volcanoes, they said.

The scientists mapped undersea mountains up to 500 metres high and canyons larger than the Grand Canyon for the first time, the government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said.

The finds were made in marine reserves 100 nautical miles south of the Australian island of Tasmania during two CSIRO voyages in November 2006 and April 2007 using new sonar and video technology as well as seafloor sampling.

Announcing the discoveries in the Tasmanian capital Hobart, CSIRO scientist Kate Wilson said more was known about the surface of Mars than the depths of the world’s oceans.

“In Australian waters, for example, more than 40 percent of the creatures brought to the surface by our scientists on a voyage of discovery have never been seen before,” she said.

A total of 123 underwater mountains were found, said CSIRO specialist Nic Bax, noting they were home to thousands of deep-sea animals.

“They’re really what we call the rainforests of the deep, they provide an area where we get a very wide range of species collected and that’s really unique in the deep sea environment,” he said.

I note this article primarily because it puts the lie to all those doom-and-gloom headlines one sees prophesying “the extinction of one quarter of all species on Earth” and the like.  It’s perfectly idiotic to make such claims when we don’t even know how many species of life there actually are.  (And it’s perfectly correct that the scientist johnny talks of the “rainforests of the deep” because rainforests are notorious for the hordes of lifeforms in them about which we don’t know anything.)


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October 2008