Saturday 14 December 2013

That Oath to be Imposed upon the Franciscans of the Immaculate regarding the Novus Ordo

To take up the issue of the Franciscans of the Immaculate again, I’m sure they will have no problem in taking the oath recognising the Novus Ordois as an authentic expression of the Catholic Faith; after all (and despite the fact that the new Canons make no distinction between the role taken by the priest and the people and the distressing supplanting of the offertory prayers with a grace before meals) the Institutio Generalis contains statements that affirm the hierarchical nature of the Church (#16); the uniqueness of the ordained priesthood (#4, 72) and the propitiatory nature of the Mass as the renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary (#2, 72) the efficacy and dignity of the Mass even when celebrated without a congregation (#19) while the Rite itself contains a Confiteor which implores the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and of all the angels and saints and, above all, the ancient and venerable Roman Canon. The FI will have no problem affirming all of this –who would? They are not, when all is said and done, being asked to affirm their agreement with the way it has been manipulated in a myriad of ways in its concrete forms of celebration. Nor are they being asked to say it is the best expression of the Faith –indeed clergy who will only celebrate the Novus Ordo yet illicitly ad-lib (GI #24); who consistently refuse to follow the IG and rubrics which direct the Mass be celebrated versum apsidem (IG #157/8; rubrics 133/4), and who likewise consistently refuse to give pride of place to Gregorian Chant (#41) are those who are demonstrating that they do not think it is the best expression of the Faith. Why are not such priests being called to account?

Let us be clear: the oath should not be necessary at all in that the FI are happily existing in the Church and giving loyalty to Pope and bishops who celebrate the Novus Ordo. It is the so-called ‘Novus Ordo Church’ with which they are in union. Hence, the oath is meaningless and imposing it says more about those doing the imposing than it does about those upon whom it is imposed.

But an issue of justice and orthodoxy arises here: if the oath is being imposed because those who impose it believe the Traditional Form is being used as a flag waved against Vatican II, what about imposing a similar oath upon those who refuse the Traditional Rite and thereby wave the flag of the Novus Ordo against the whole of the Church’s past? Such an action would be more in tune with Catholic Faith since it would ensure that clergy do not deny the validity of the Church pre or post-Vatican II. After all, it is such folk who would therefore be setting up a new Church with new worship, new doctrine and new disciplines.

Why not simply add to the Profession of Faith taken before ordination and appointments that one accepts both forms of the Roman Rite? This will ensure equal treatment of all, liberty for all in the celebration of Mass and thereby retain fraternity within the Church. One may say (tongue in cheek) that the liberal, progressive Catholics will thus have a wonderful way of providing for liberty, equality and freedom  in the Church... 

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