Sunday, January 28, 2007

Update on the Universal Indult

Contrary to what Martin Hiedegger thought, which was that Philosophy got all messed up when Greek thought was filtered through the Latin language, Latin is lovely, concise, and descriptive, and certainly worthy of living on. This is an update on the status of the mostly feared, but in some, very small and cramped quarters eagerly anticipated, Universal Indult Pope Benedict XVI is said to have been considering, which would allow the Latin Mass from the 1962 missal to be used by priests at their own discretion, without having to get the permission of their bishop to do so. The update comes from no less a source than the Holy Father's resident Latinist, the Carmelite, Fr. Reginald Foster in an interview with the U.K.'s Telegraph entitled Pope's Latinist pronounces death of a language. It is important to note that, despite his concern for the fate of Latin in the Church, Fr. Foster does not favor a return to the Latin Mass for many of the same reasons I have mentioned in previous posts. As you will see, however, Fr. Foster, as is his want, is a bit more plain spoken about his objections than I am.

Fr. Foster sets forth the concern that we should all have about Latin as Roman Catholics, which concern should cause us to take measures to maintain its currency. Put simply, Latin should not become extinct. It should remain the universal language of the Church and still comprise parts of our liturgy, the Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, etc. Clergy, priests and deacons, should be educated in Latin, as should liturgists, musicians, cantors and choir members. The normative texts of the Church, including the Sacramentary, all the Rites, the Code of Canon Law, Papal Encyclicals, etc. should remain in Latin. However, the Church's worship has to allow for the full, active, and conscious participation of the faithful called for by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium, which means the vernacular. As to rest, I'll let Fr. Foster speak for himself.

Fr. Foster "said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"'He is not going to do it,' Fr Foster said. 'He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose.' In any case, he added: 'It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval.'"
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